Why SOS is against Jerwood Gallery

LAST week’s front page item about local voters preferences highlighted some key reasons why so many people were opposed to the Jerwood Gallery being built on The Stade, long before the dubious Big Question questionnaire was issued by Hastings Borough Council.

Despite what we were often accused of, Save Our Stade was never opposed to Jerwood or anyone else wanting to build a new art gallery in our area. What we objected to was losing The Stade as a convenient parking facility with the untold consequential costs and losses to the local business economy.

Add to that the annual loss of £35K to Hastings Borough Council and £95K to the Foreshore Trust Charity from lost parking charges plus an annual subsidy of £70K because Jerwood demanded that they pay no business rates.

To top it all, Jerwood reneged on a promise of free admission so that they could reclaim the VAT on their building costs. My goodness, anyone would think they were an offshore tax avoidance operation.

Supporters of local charities who face withdrawal of business rate relief by HBC due to the tough economic climate might like to ponder the justice of what has been agreed by HBC on their behalf.

ALAN SMITH

Save Our Stade secretary